Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Yesterday we brought M in to the pediatrician with a high fever and vomiting.  M was sent home, slept most of the day away and felt well enough to sip Sprite last night.  By 7pm  he'd fallen asleep for the night and slept solid until 7:15am this morning.

He awoke and emerged from his room, slightly unsteady on his feet.  He said he needed to use the bathroom and asked me to hold his hand while he walked.  We'd almost made it into the bathroom when M went limp and began to fall to the ground. Since I was already holding on to him, I was able to grab him before he hit the floor.  His body stiffened, pitched forward and he began seizing.  His face was sheet white, his eyes rolled back, arms and legs jerking and M gasped for breath.

I screamed for Mr. A and woke Miss J in the process.  She ran into the bathroom and witnessed  her brother's seizure. Mr. A ran in and took M and laid him on his bedroom floor.  I dialed 911.

I knew at the onset that we were dealing with a seizure.  M's prior seizures were all focal seizures;  his eyes glaze over and he stares into space and then falls into a deep sleep. This was the first time he'd had a seizure that involved his entire body jerking.

I talked myself through it.  Stay calm.  Call for Mr. A.  Lay M on the floor.  Call 911.  In my mind, I knew exactly what to say.  I knew what to do, how to react.  However, as I tried to dial 911 my fingers couldn't work the phone.  I could hear the panic in my own voice as I gave the information to the operator.  It was my first time placing a 911 call.

The seizure didn't last long at all, a minute, perhaps.  It felt longer though.

The paramedics arrived within a few minutes.  I immediately recognized their faces.  They'd brought the fire truck to our block party a few months ago.  I have a photo of M with a big grin on his face posing with the firemen in our front yard. They remembered M.

They loaded M into the ambulance.  I rode with them.  They took vitals.  They asked M questions.  They gave M an orange and green stuffed mouse to hold on to. They called the hospital to let them know to expect us in ten minutes. M looked pale and frightened.  I probably did too. It occurred to me that I had not brushed my hair or my teeth.  I threw on whatever clothes were closest and I was terribly mismatched.  I remembered to grab my purse but forgot to take my coat.  I didn't really care.

We arrived at the hospital.  An IV was started.  Blood was drawn.  Urine sample collected.  M was dehydrated and feverish.  His nurse was patient and kind, both with M and with me.  The ER doctor examined M and asked him questions.  M's speech was garbled and his answers made little sense.  M told the doctor he had to fasten his seatbelt.  He told him that the car lights were bright and the noise was loud. He said he was seven and in second grade.  I realized then that M was recalling his ride in the ambulance and was, just now, giving the answers to the questions the paramedics had been asking on the ride to the hospital.  The ER doctor said that this was normal and expected behavior following a seizure.  M's brain was just coming back "online" and needed time to reboot.  He said he should be fine within a few hours.

After a while, M was given apple juice and a cherry popsicle.  In the end, as we had figured, it was determined that the stress of the fever/dehydration/viral infection was too much for M's body and it had induced the seizure. We were given our discharge papers and follow up orders and were allowed to leave.

While I was sitting in the ER with M, Mr. A had taken Miss J for a walk around the hospital to stretch her legs.  He'd stopped at the gift shop and had picked up a newspaper for me.  I read a story about a nine year old Indiana girl who'd been murdered and dismembered by a convicted sex offender. Just nine years old.

As lousy as today was for us, we have little to complain about and so much to be grateful for.

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